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Completed Projects to Date:

  • Galle, Sri Lanka (October 2019) – Ingear Class of Hope, special-needs facility for differently-abled teens. A whopping +250 feet of mural work was donated to Ingear Class of Hope, including a 200 foot exterior mural painted on the garden walls and a 50ft interior mural. The large, garden mural features a bright blue and white sky with hand-painted clouds. The clouds form shapes of local animals such as an elephant, a jumping dolphin and a whale. The interior entry alcove mural is a 50 foot full room mural that celebrates the Sri Lankan culture, showcasing painted scenes of the local ocean, animals, flowers and landscape. The children and youth at Ingear helped prime and basecoat the exterior garden walls prior to the sky mural. The kids also put their artistic touches on painted flowers and rich foliage for the indoor mural. Donations also went towards purchasing a new refrigerator for the school, as well as a blender to make healthy smoothies and drinks. At the culmination of the project Big Sky Countries hosted a party for all the parents, staff and children complete with entertainment by Astrix clown, lunch for 50 people, cakes and sweets from the local bakery, face painting, fresh smoothies, drinks, music and dancing. A very special thanks to Dale and Sabrina Rennie for making this fantastic mural project come to fruition, as well as donating amazing lodging during the mural project.
  • Los Angeles: Wilmington, CA. (Aug 2019) – Hawaiian Avenue Elementary, Title 1 School LA Unified School District. Title I provides educational needs for children from low-income households, including students who are at-risk, disabled, or neglected. 35 foot “Space and Science” themed mural was donated, featuring a dynamic solar system scene with math equations and science equipment floating in space. Kids added their vibrant touches with color, as well as suggested the science items that would be floating throughout the mural. The mural is located on the exterior wall of the science building and is seen from the main playground.
  • Los Angeles: Lomita, CA. (Dec 2018) – Eschelman Avenue Elementary. Title 1 School LA Unified School District. Title I provides educational needs for children from low-income households, including students who are at-risk, disabled, or neglected. A 210 foot exterior mural was donated featuring children that are on their “College Bound” journey from elementary school up to graduation, set against a whimsical blue and white sky backdrop. This mural is located on the school playground and includes some of the actual children and staff from the school who were painted as characters into the scenes. Children from different classes came to paint their special touches on the mural, as well as staff and volunteers who also painted together. On behalf of Big Sky Countries, we would like to give special thanks to Erika Link who made this mural possible and all the volunteers that came to paint with the kids.
  • Los Angeles: Wilmington, CA. (Nov 2017) – Gulf Avenue Elementary. Title 1 School LA Unified School District. Title I provides educational needs for children from low-income households, including students who are at-risk, disabled, or neglected. This 60 foot large scale mural was painted on several large storage bins located on the playground and viewed from the surrounding streets. Exciting painted scenes of turtles and dolphins, exotic fish, a hidden shipwreck and colorful coral made this once dull area teeming with life. Special thanks to Madeline Sloane for volunteering her beautiful mural skills.
  • Quito, Ecuador (April 2016) – Escuela Quintiliano Sanchez. Elementary School located in Quito city center. A 40 foot mural was donated to this inner city elementary school celebrating the flora and fauna of the 4 regions of Ecuador. The mural was painted on the main playground wall, just outside the principal's office. Scenes include native children in the jungle playing instruments, a beach scene depicting the beauty of the Galapagos, and a local child playing football. The beautiful cerulean blue and white sky scene gives a sense of openness and beauty to the mural. Very special thanks and appreciation to Carolyn and Josh Memmott, as well as Aaryn Basler for making this mural possible.

    Remar Orphanage and Children’s Foundation, Quito, Ecuador. During the 2016 trip to Ecuador, Big Sky Countries also hosted a party for 40 kids and staff at Remar Foundation, including a clown performing live music, kids’ sing-a-long music session, variety of pizzas, drinks and face painting.
  • Los Angeles: Torrance, CA (Feb 2016) – Pediatric Therapy Network (PTN) Facility that helps children with special needs by providing therapies that increase each child’s abilities to lead an independent life. 100 foot mural depicting a retro, graphic sunset sky and jungle scene with various animal silhouettes and funky foliage. Highlights include leading a team of 50 volunteers from Sandpipers Women’s Group to design and paint this vibrant “Get Funky Jungle Mural” in the main waiting room where children and parents arrive at the facility. Special thanks to Sandpipers Women Organization for volunteering their time to paint.
  • Trenton, New Jersey (July 2014) – Trenton Public Library: Children’s Reading Room and Activity Center. With a crime rate of 42 per one thousand residents, Trenton has one of the highest crime rates in America. Trenton Public Library is located in one of the highest-crime neighborhoods in the city, therefore it was important to provide a safe environment for kids to go and thrive. This massive 260 foot full room mural is located in the basement of Trenton Public Library and wraps around 3 large walls. This large basement room has no windows. The once white walls are painted with a bright, outdoor fantasy scene so the children could feel like they were playing outside. Details include friendly dragons reading books in a magical lush green landscape, a fairytale castle and a hand-painted 3-D tree kids can hide inside. The sky scenes dominate this large indoor mural with a soothing sunrise sky that transitions throughout the room into a blue sky then a brilliant sunset scene. Very special thanks to Kimberly Matthews for providing wonderful lodging and making this mural come to life.
  • Newtown/Sandy Hook, CT (Oct 2013) – NYA Newtown Youth Association, who provided a safe house and a media-free environment for the community after the devastating 2012 Sandy Hook shootings. 250 feet of mural work was donated between two murals located throughout the NYA community center. The larger mural is located throughout the main hallways of the NYA and features colorful silhouettes of children and teens playing sports and interacting together. The second mural is in the Youth Meeting Room and features an inspiring blue sky background with colorful words painted that celebrates “team work.” Local teens from the high school came to participate and paint throughout the week on the large entry way mural. A group of children, teens and parents were also invite to paint in the Youth Meeting Room, creating special projects of their own. Special thanks to Terry Sagedy and Alisa Farley for providing generous lodging and making this very special donation mural possible.
  • Los Angeles, CA: Wilmington (May 2012) – Gulf Avenue Elementary, Title 1 School LA Unified School District. Title I provides educational needs for children from low-income households, including students who are at-risk, disabled, or neglected. This massive 100 foot exterior playground mural boasts a dynamic ocean scene that adds excitement to a once bland walkway. The 2-story mural features life-size orca whales playing with a variety of exciting sea life. The design mixes all types of fish and coral to create an underwater dreamland. The children at the school gave their suggestions of the fish they wanted, with each request being painted into the ocean scene. This mural was featured on National Geographic’s “The Good Traveller”. Special thanks to Principal David Kooper for supporting these donation murals and giving us big walls to paint.
  • Nosara, Costa Rica (Jan 2011) – Serapio Lopez Elementary School. Located directly adjacent to the town jail. The local community came together to build a cement wall to separate the jail from the schoolyard, where previously prisoners could look at the children and into the classrooms. 150 feet of mural work was donated between two exciting murals at Serapio Lopez Elementary. A stunning sunset sky is painted on the main wall that was built to separate the jail from the schoolyard. This large wall features a colorful 60 foot hand-painted mural with a jungle scene celebrating Costa Rica’s lush landscape with local flowers, animals from the region, as well as a nearby local swimming hole with waterfall. A second 50 foot mural was donated on the side of an exterior classroom wall with a whimsical tree, a playful monkey and colorful painted handprints from the school children which were painted into a flower scene. The last day was celebrated with homemade pastries from a local bakery and drinks for the kids and volunteers. Very special thanks to Emily and Spencer Klein whose efforts and lodging made this donation mural possible.
  • Atlanta, GA (Aug 2010) – Covenant House Georgia. Teen shelter who opens their doors to homeless and trafficked youth regardless of race, creed, gender or the circumstances that have brought them to this wonderful facility. This special 60 foot donation mural was partnered with Alliance Theatre and depicts the journey that the teens at Covenant House strive to make from homelessness to independent living. The message is to follow your destiny and reach for the sky. The hand-painted sky scene moves from a dreamy nightscape to a lively blue sky with dancers from the Alliance Theatre actually painted into the mural. The teens from Covenant House Georgia teamed up with the young actors from Alliance Theatre’s production of “Twist”, coming together to paint their touches on this dynamic mural. Newspapers and film crews came to cover the story on the final day, making this a truly unforgettable donation mural. Deepest thanks to Jeanne Shemilt for generously volunteering her time and brushwork to come paint this special mural.
  • Los Angeles: Torrance, CA (Oct 2008) – Occupational Therapy Training Program (OTTP). Youth facility that provides outpatient behavioral health services to children, teens and families throughout Los Angeles County. This 75 foot full-room mural was painted with a group of teens meeting every week over a period of 2 months. Everyone worked together to leave their beautiful brush strokes on this meaningful mural. The mural depicts a rich scene of different places the teens identify as their own “safe place”. The painted sky transitions through the large room, from an exciting daytime sky to a reflective sunset scene and finally a brilliant night sky. Each Wednesday for two months teens would meet with artist, Nichole Blackburn Manthe, as well as their peer counselors to discuss different therapy topics which would then be painted into the mural. The final masterpiece was a timeline of the teens progress through their art therapy over that 8 week period. Local news crews came to cover the ribbon cutting ceremony, with the youth painting their final details and signing this epic mural. Special thanks to Liz Carley for helping make this mural possible and Natasha Earling for volunteering her time.
  • New Orleans, LA (Aug 2008) – Gauthier Elementary School being rebuilt one year after the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. This 100 foot mural was painted exactly one year after Hurricane Katrina hit the area and is located in the newly-rebuilt school cafeteria. The energetic sky scene transitions from a sunset scene to a brilliant blue sky. Children from Gauthier Elementary and volunteers came together to put their artistic touches on the expansive mural, adding foliage, flowers and highlights. This mural was donated in partnership with local New Orleans artist, Veronica Leandrez. Special thanks to Kids for Katrina organization and Debbie Perez and the Perez Family, for making this joint donation project a huge success.
  • Sucre, Bolivia (April 2008) – Institute Psychopedigocico. Orphanage and hospital devoted to the care of handicapped and special needs children. This 60 foot interior mural is crowned with a beautiful dusk, sunset sky and was painted in the Recreational and Meeting Room where the kids and staff gather daily. This colorful mural depicts actual kids and teens from the facility, interacting with local animals and playing outdoors in a local setting unique to Sucre. The children, teens and staff came to paint flowers, foliage and animals, proving to be some of the most confident and artistic painters! A very special thanks to Vivian Lu who helped make this mural possible while she was volunteering for the Peace Corps in Bolivia.
  • Manila, Philippines (Oct 2007) – Nayon Ng Kabataan Orphanage. Government-run orphanage for street children, victims of child labor, orphaned, abandoned and physically abused. This 65 foot interior mural showcases a bright blue sky and is painted in the main Dining Hall the children use daily. The mural depicts a local Filipino fiesta with children from the facility painted in as characters in the scenes. The theme “Barrio Fiesta” was painted showing street scenes that celebrate the warm and lively Filipino culture. This mural features a life-size jeepney bus used by locals to commute, a traditional dance scene called Tinikling and a festival with locals playing traditional games. Once the mural was completed, the orphanage was paid a visit by the local mayor and government officials to commemorate the donation project. Local newspapers and film crews came to cover the ribbon cutting, give accolades and present an award to Nichole Blackburn Manthe, on behalf of Big Sky Countries. The children choreographed a live dance performance for staff, officials and volunteers. Everyone deemed the mural project a raging success. Special appreciation to Andrea Capranico for volunteering to document and film this exciting mural. Deepest thanks to Pia StaRomana See for organizing the facility.
  • Dublin, Ireland (Aug 2007) –Cranford Elementary School. Inner City Elementary School. This 15 foot mural features a vibrant sunset sky splashed across a focal wall in the children’s playground. The mural features children playing on a beautiful beach with a view underwater where fish and sea life can be seen playing together in harmony. Children at the school were encouraged to paint their special touches, adding brushstrokes to the sandy bottom and the waves. The children also participated in an outdoor art class, drawing their versions of the mural while Nichole painted on. Special thanks to Lori Blackburn for providing the school and making this donation mural come to fruition.
  • Phuket, Thailand (July 2007) – Doowrong Wittaya Elementary School. School directly affected by the 2004 Tsunami. This 60 foot was the very first international donation mural and a huge success. The mural was painted in the school’s Music Room, spanning a once drab white wall. This masterpiece features actual students painted into a lively outdoor scene with children playing music, wearing traditional Thai attire and playing sports. The students were welcome to paint their touches, and even the school staff came to paint, including the school’s art teacher and the PE instructor! Very special thanks to Don Battles for providing lodging and making the first international donation mural come to life.
  • Los Angeles: Long Beach, CA (May 2005) – Star View Children and Family Services. Mental Health Clinic that serves children and families involved in the child welfare or juvenile probation systems. This 20 foot mural was the very first donation mural, painted in the main Meeting Room where staff and kids met daily. The children and youth were asked to draw pictures of what they wanted to see painted into the mural. This included sentimental objects like a cherry blossom tree, a key on a chord and other personal accents. The result was a colorful and soothing mural that paved the way for many more donation murals to come! Special thanks to Jessica Plancich for providing the facility.

Other Donation Projects:

  • Los Angeles: Redondo Beach, CA (Dec 2018 and 2006) –Redondo Union High School “Ron Kooper Scholarship” for fine art students. Redondo Union High School was not only Nichole’s alma mater, but Ron Kooper was her influential art teacher. On behalf of Big Sky Countries, Nichole donated $1000 and $500 scholarships to worthy students majoring in Fine Arts. Both scholarships honored Nichole’s high school art teacher, Ron Kooper, who taught for over 20 years at Redondo Union High School and who encouraged her to pursue a career in fine art. Nichole remains close with the Kooper family to this day.
  • Manila, Philippines (Jan 2012 and 2013) – Nayon Kabataan Orphanage. Government-Run Orphanage for Street Children, Victims of Child Labor, Orphaned, Abandoned, and Physically Abused. Big Sky Countries brought the children, staff, volunteers and family together to re-visit the Nayon Kabataan Orphanage, which was where a large donation mural was completed by Big Sky Countries in 2007. During both of these visits, the children and staff were treated to a day of fun featuring: a hip-hop dance instructor, face painting, games, and a party lunch including local favorite fried chicken from Jollibee, rice and bottled water for +40 people. Most importantly, the kids were allowed to be kids! Very special thanks to Lupe Lazaro for helping arrange the party, volunteering her time and bringing the amazing dance instructor for the party.
  • Los Angeles: Lawndale, CA. (Dec 2012) - Mark Twain Elementary. Title 1 School LA Unified School District. Title I provides educational needs for children from low-income households, including students who are at-risk, disabled, or neglected. On behalf of Big Sky Countries, Nichole Blackburn Manthe donated a children’s art class to 4th graders at Mark Twain Elementary. This included 30 mini-canvases, a variety of paint brushes, paints, art tools used for painting and 8 volunteers. Children received a demonstration by Nichole Blackburn Manthe on how to create their own masterpieces through different art techniques while using their imagination. The children were encouraged to give the finished canvases to their parents or loved ones as holiday gifts.
  • Hermosa Beach (Summer 2011) - Summer “Concerts on the Beach” - Nichole Blackburn Manthe donated four 15 foot murals during live painting sessions for the Hermosa Summer “Concerts on the Beach”. Children and youth were invited to paint and participate with Nichole in this community event with themes ranging from “aquatic” to “pop art”.
  • Los Angeles: Hermosa Beach, CA. (June 2010) Hermosa Beach Art Walk “Featured Artist of the Year”. Nichole Blackburn Manthe was chosen as the featured artist of the 2010 Hermosa Art Walk, recognized for her volunteer work with Big Sky Countries nonprofit. Located at the Hermosa Civic Theatre, the Hermosa Art Walk is a popular community event that draws thousands of fine artists and visitors together for a weekend of fun. Nichole painted a 40 foot live mural depicting the local lifestyle of Hermosa Beach, including the surf and beach community she grew up in. Children and adults were encouraged to paint with Nichole on the large mural, which was later donated to an inner city children’s group.
  • West Hollywood: Los Angeles, CA. (Fall 2010) “Every Monday Matters” Foundation Event with Forest Whitaker Premier fundraising event that brings together celebrities, companies, athletes, and families to raise money for Every Monday Matters programs to schools. On behalf of Big Sky Countries, Nichole Blackburn Manthe donated an art booth event to Every Monday Matters at Smashbox Studios in West Hollywood. During the event Nichole had participants create their own mini canvas painting, asking the question: “What matters to you most?” The goal of this program is to empower youth through service-learning/ community outreach, character development, and establishing an understanding of significance and purpose. Over 100 canvases were donated and taken home by participants.
  • Cebu, Philippines (Dec 2008) – Local Children’s Orphanage for Street Children, Victims of Child Labor, Orphaned, Abandoned, and Physically Abused. Big Sky Countries was proud to donated a party to over 30 children complete with face painting and art supplies at this local orphanage in Cebu. Special thanks to Lori Blackburn who organized the event and helped deliver the supplies to the children.
  • Los Angeles: Palos Verdes, CA (2006) - In 2006 Nichole donated another mural to the Palos Verdes Montessori School for their International Children’s Festival.



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